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Coordinates: 34°28′43″N 135°49′13″E / 34.478731°N 135.820214°E / 34.478731; 135.820214

Front of the Main Hall at Asuka-dera, Asuka, Nara
Great Buddha of Asuka-dera

Asuka-dera (飛鳥寺), also known as Hōkō-ji (法興寺), is a Buddhist temple in Asuka, Nara. Asuka-dera is regarded as one of the oldest temples in Japan.

Temple complex[edit]

A number of records refer to the origin of the temple, such as the Nihongi and Fusō-ryakuki. The original buildings of what was then called Hōkō-ji were constructed in 588, shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, under the orders of Soga no Umako.[1][2] The temple was built using the guidance of craftsmen from the ancient Korean kingdom of Baekje.[3]

Following the transfer of the capital from Asuka to Heijō-kyō (now Nara city), the buildings of Asuka-dera were also removed from the original site in Asuka to Nara in 718 CE, and developed into a huge temple under the name of Gangō-ji. The original site of Hōkō-ji was also maintained as a temple, which survives into modern times.[4]

The main object of worship at Asuka-dera is the bronze Great Buddha, which said to have been made by Kuratsukuri no Tori in the early seventh century. The statue is designated as an Important Cultural Property.

Sculpture of Prince Shōtoku depicted as a bodhisattva in Asuka-dera, Asuka, Nara

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kawagoe, Aileen. Heritage of Japan Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Aston, William. (2005). Nihongi, p. 101.
  3. ^ Asuka Historical Museum Retrieved 6 June 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Martin, John et al. (1993). Nara: A Cultural Guide to Japan's Ancient Capital, p. 121;


External links[edit]